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How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Locust Fork Alabama

Locust Fork Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Locust Fork AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Locust Fork AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Locust Fork AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Locust Fork AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Locust Fork AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Locust Fork AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Locust Fork AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Locust Fork AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Locust Fork AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Locust Fork AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Locust Fork AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Locust Fork home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Locust Fork AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Locust Fork Interior Design Schools

Select the Best Locust Fork Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Locust Fork AL.